We've got a lovely couple staying with us just now. They've got to be, really, as he is an Old Jarrovian, i.e. an ex pupil of Jarrow Grammar School, like me. But that doesn't exempt him from the trials and tribulations of life in Luxor, does it, Dear Reader?
Two days before these good folk landed, last week, we started having the odd power cut, again! We haven't had any since we returned after our Christmas break, and had been lulled into a false sense of well-being and comfort. Then, BANG; no electricity for an hour! It's happened most evenings since. Of course it had to be when we have our first guests for eight months, didn't it?
We've had a bit of trouble with our water system recently, as well. But I thought that it was cured before our guests arrived, how wrong I was. I realised, the other day, that the water pump was switching on and off without us using any taps or anything. Eventually, I realised that the small non-return valve on the feed into the hot water tank must be allowing the hot water to drop back into the pipework, and that that was what had been causing the noise in the pipes after a tap (or whatever) had been used. So, to kill two birds with one stone, I replaced the valve. the new one being purchased from Mr Showky, for the princely sum of 15le. Very good, Mr Adward!
You can imagine my disappointment when I discovered that the pump was still acting itself! I checked the same valve downstairs, and yes, it too was malfunctioning. "Mafiche mushkellar! (No problem!) I can fix that." I thought to myself. So, this morning, as we were cleaning the guest apartment (while our guests were clambering about the temples etc on the Side of the Dead) all I needed to do was to nip down to Mr Showky's and get a new valve and replace it. Hahaha! (A spot of manic laughter there, just to prepare you for what is to follow!)
I was careful to stipulate the Italian manufactured valve, as opposed to the Chinese one, as Showky has always assured me that Italian plumbing requisites are so much superior in their quality. I closed the cold tap which feeds the tank, and then opened a hot tap to release any pressure in the tank before I started to undo any of the couplings. Clever lad! When I've done this before, like just the other day, there has only been a very small amount of water which has leaked out of the open pipe. Not this time, though! I had to empty the whole bloomin' tank, it glugged and spurted all over. Never mind, the bathroom is fully tiled, so it would clean up easily. In the event, the pipe nuts were a bit awkward to loosen, as they kept turning the stainless braided pipe as well, and I had to keep wangling the pipe to continue.
It came as a pleasant break to stroll down onto Sharia Yousef Hassan, to Showky's shop and get the new valve, another 15 Egyptian quid. Full of the joys of spring, I had the lot back together again in no time, and was then able to get back to vacuuming and mopping the floors.
And so it went, a nice new pipe, with nice new, soft, seals which didn't need overtightening.
I was getting sick and tired of climbing our stairs by now, a little slower every trip. When I offered up the tap and extension to the iron pipe which sat about an inch or so below the surface of the tiles, I found (to my very obvious delight!!!) that it DIDN'T REACH! This was getting beyond being even the slightest bit funny (so don't you dare laugh, Dear Reader, don't think that I can't see you through this "telly screen"!). Showky took pity on me and gave me an extra extension free of charge!
After p-l-o-d-d-i-n-g back up the street and painfully mounting the stairs, I wound about twelve layers of put-phut tape (P.T.F.E. Thread Tape) onto the threads of the new extension and screwed it into the open iron pipe set back into the wall. I had to tighten it a bit more than I would have liked, to get the other pipe connection into the correct position, but it seemed to be OK. On with the tap again! As the tears trickled down my cheeks, so did the water trickle down the white tiles!
Frustration was now taking hold! Freda, who could sense that I was about to explode (or perhaps implode?) even suggested that I stop and have a cup of tea. But the guests might be back at any minute, and they'll be wanting a shower!
Grudgingly, I took the tap off again, rewound it with put-phut, about 16 layers this time, and screwed it back into pace. HALLELUJAH!!!! It was OK, and the guests arrived back from their adventure just as I was cleaning up. Perfect!
As we left the house, I noticed the water pump click on and off as we came down the stairs, and my heart sank! But not as far as it did when we walked out the street door and came across this:
The cake at the Etap was as soft as a baby's bum and a lot better tasting. After thoroughly enjoying our rest and watching the world go by, we took the 'bus and did a little shopping before returning home. Can you guess what happened next? That's right, just as we got off the 'bus, the lights went out, another b****y power cut! Water spurting all over the street and no lights to see by, that was all we needed! Why are we here? What is it that compels us to stay? Are we just mad? (Remember that last question, just for a minute or so.)
Adam chased me out of the way, up the stairs; suggesting that if the water company men saw my white face when they arrived, the cost of the repair would probably double! I spied on them with my 'long lens', from my "Eagle's Nest" up on the fourth floor.